RISE: Refugees, Survivors & Ex-Detainees, the first refugee and asylum seeker support and advocacy organisation in Australia to by run by people of asylum seeker and refugee background, offers its full support and solidarity with those being held in immigration detention in Nauru as they undertake hunger strikes in protest of their treatment by the Australian state.
The Gillard government’s Pacific Solution Mark 2, is not a policy of deterrence but one of punishment. On the advice of the sham Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers, those who have endured unimaginable hardships, crossing many borders and open, dangerous seas are now being sent to isolated detention camps in Nauru and soon, Manus Island, held indefinitely while their claims have not even begun to be processed.
RISE is deeply alarmed by the conditions for detainees in Nauru with reports of living quarters being flooded, limited access to medical care, extreme heat, rampant mental health issues and suicide attempts. Detainees have also been denied the ability to leave the camp, keeping them confined to a crowded tent city hemmed in by jungle and a garbage dump.
In the past, inadequate numbers of medical personnel onsite at Nauru led to poor treatment of health issues, particularly in the case of mental health. Sleeping pills and anti-psychotic drugs were administered as quick fixes regularly – unethical attempts to pacify and silence the camp’s detainees. Those who had sought medical assistance were given improper and overdue medical care. As a result, detainees would often struggle with long term and debilitating health problems such as diabetes, blindness and depression.
Our fears that these stories from the past will reappear have been confirmed. The hunger strike undertaken by the almost 400 detainees on Nauru is a testament to just how harsh conditions are on the island for those imprisoned in the camp.
We call on the Australian government to end offshore processing immediately and begin processing the claims of those detained in Nauru. We also continue our ongoing demand to Australia to end its inhumane program of mandatory and indefinite immigration detention.
Further information and context on the struggle in Nauru
Click here to read Refugee Action Collective – Sydney’s 28.10.2012 media release alerting the public of another suicide attempt in Nauru and that detainees have had their internet access further limited after their attempts to contact the international media.
Click here to read RISE’s report on offshore processing which includes our recommendations to the Australian government.